Helmut & Johanna Kandl



In cooperation with various scientific disciplines and research institutes (Institute for Natural Sciences and Technologies in Art, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; Restoration at the Universalmuseum Joanneum, Neue Galerie Graz, Alte Galerie, Centre of Natural History and Folk Life Museum at UMJ).

Curated by: Katia Huemer and Barbara Steiner
Venue: Space02

Exhibition design: studio-itzo, Rainer Stadlbauer

About the exhibition

Palette pursues the question of where the paints, pigments and binding agents used in a painting come from. In this sense, every painting also represents a map. Gum Arabic, for example, an indispensable binding agent in paints, mostly comes from Sudan, while the pigments for ultramarine / lapis lazuli come from Afghanistan, ochre from France and Krems white from the town of Krems in Austria. In art history research, not only the source of the painting tools is largely ignored; the production conditions for the extraction of the pigments or binding agents are also blanked out.

The dominant importance of the artistic authorship identifies the origin of an artwork solely through the originality of artists. The work by those toiling in the mines or on the plantations to enable the paint to be produced forms a blind spot in the cultural field of what is visible. Mapping Painting is dedicated precisely to this blind spot and goes to the production locations of paints and binding agents. In collaboration with various scientific disciplines and research institutions in Vienna and Graz, Johanna Kandl and Helmut Kandl visits different production places to interview the people in situ and to record their work and living conditions. Together with scientists in the field of restoration and material research, the (worldwide) source of material research is mapped.

The exhibition in the Kunsthaus Graz shows artistic works by Helmut & Johanna Kandl as well as artworks from the collections of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, which have been investigated beforehand as to the origin of their pigments or binding agents. It links up artistic, cultural-historical and scientific research.


So 19.12.


> Kunsthaus Graz

Johanna Kandl (* 1954 in Vienna), Helmut Kandl (* 1953 in Laa/Thaya)

Johanna Kandl studied conservation and technology (restoration) and then painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Helmut Kandl initially worked in business and was, among other things, managing director of the Kunsthalle Krems. The two have been married since 1997 and work together on artistic projects.


Further exhibitions 2021/2022

Showing further perspectives on the multifaceted work of Helmut & Johanna Kandl: 

Helmut & Johanna Kandl. Viva Archiva!, Landesgalerie Lower Austria, 06.11.2021-20.02.2022

A joint catalogue was produced for the two exhibitions at the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich and the Kunsthaus Graz:

Helmut & Johanna Kandl. Material + Archive is published to accompany the parallel exhibitions Viva Archiva! at the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich and Palette at Kunsthaus Graz. In Krems, the focus is on the artists' extensive collection of photos and objects. The personal history of the Kandls and their examination of the creation and use of painting materials is linked to socio-political developments in Austria. Palette shows works by Helmut & Johanna Kandl together with works of art, minerals, plants and ethnographic objects from the collections of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, thus creating a multi-layered picture with several cross-references.

The close connection between the two exhibitions is made clear in the catalogue, which contains aspects of both shows and–quite in the manner of the Kandls–reveals their interweaving of content. In addition to numerous texts, it contains reproductions of Johanna Kandl's paintings and Helmut Kandl's collages, video stills and several photos from their archives.

Kunsthaus Graz

Lendkai 1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9200


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24th/25th December 2023
Helmut & Johanna Kandl. Material + Archive